Brainerd motorcyclist dies in crash; 6th fatality in 2 weeks


Another motorcyclist has been killed in a crash, which makes six motorcycle deaths in Minnesota in the last two weeks.

The Minnesota State Patrol says 30-year-old John Helstrom was killed on Highway 210 in Brainerd Monday afternoon when he collided with an SUV that was turning left. The 56-year-old man driving the SUV was not hurt.

It's not clear if any criminal charges will be filed in the crash, KARE 11 reports.

The crash in Brainerd is the latest in a deadly string of motorcycle accidents in a short timespan to start the summer riding season. There have been six motorcycle fatalities in the state since May 28, which brings the total of motorcycle crash deaths to 13 this year – there were 12 at this time last year, the Department of Public Safety told BringMeTheNews.

But the recent spike in crashes has officials urging safety during the riding season.

“To stay safe, we urge riders to take responsibility on their bikes by focusing on riding and taking a training course to sharpen and hone their skills. We also remind motorists to look twice for motorcyclists and urge them to share the road," Bill Shaffer, of the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center, said in a news release.

The number of motorcycle riders has gone up in recent years, which has increased the number of crashes. Preliminary reports show that 60 motorcyclists lost their lives in 2013 – accounting for 16 percent of Minnesota traffic deaths last year. Motorcycle deaths in 2013 were up 9 percent from 2012, the Department of Public Safety reports.

The first motorcycle death of the year was March 11 when a 30-year-old man was ejected from his motorcycle after hitting a pothole while speeding down Interstate 394, the Department of Public Safety said in a news release about motorcycle season.

There were no motorcycle fatalities in Minnesota in April – the last time April was fatality-free was 1990, the Department of Public Safety notes. Minnesota has never had two months during the riding season – April through October – without a rider fatality.

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